How to Start an Event Planning Business

To find out how to start an event planning business, you'll need to take steps like developing a business plan and determining your target market. There are also legal and financial steps you'll have to tackle before you can officially begin marketing your new business. 

Determine Your Target Market

When you first create your event planning company, decide which types of events you want to plan. If you're not concerned about specializing, you can plan events for just about any industry. Some event planners prefer to stick to a niche or two, such as wedding planning or corporate event planning. 

In general, there are four event types: 

  • Celebrational – These are fun and exciting affairs, such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, fairs, parades, and reunions. 
  • Educational – These include informational events, such as graduations, meetings, and conferences. They tend to be more formal. 
  • Promotional – A combination of the first two, promotional events mix the fun aspect of celebrations with the informative aspect of educational events. These events include fashions shows, political rallies, and product launches. 
  • Commemorative - A formal type of event, a commemorative affair often includes civic events and memorial services to recognize significant people. 

The Corporate Market 

The term corporate refers to companies, charities, and nonprofits. Charities and nonprofits hold such events as receptions, gala fundraisers, and athletic competitions in order to raise funds and increase their support base. Companies may host any of the following: 

  • Conventions.
  • Trade shows.
  • Holiday parties.
  • Company picnics.
  • Meetings for board members, stockholders, and staff. 

Corporate events are becoming increasingly popular.

The Social Market

The social market is expected to continue growing, particularly as baby boomers age. This market includes birthdays and anniversaries. Baby boomers have children who are planning weddings and parents who are celebrating milestone anniversaries. They also may have milestone anniversaries of their own to celebrate.

Develop Your Business Plan

No matter how big or small a business, each one needs a business plan. Business plans are designed to do the following:

  • Guide the decision-making process.
  • Make your intentions clear to lenders and investors.
  • Keep your business on track even when things get rocky.

Your business plan should include the following:

  1. Cover page: This is simple and only needs the name of your business and your contact details so that potential lenders and investors can get in touch with you.
  2. Executive summary: Consider this your “hook” or what you'll use to entice and interest people. Here, you describe your company, what sets your event planning business apart, and why you'll be successful.
  3. Company overview: This is your business's profile page, and it should include your business name, location, formation date, event planning business type, and the legal form of your business, i.e., S-corp., Limited Liability Company, or sole proprietorship.
  4. Industry analysis: Charts and statistics are useful here as you describe the event planning industry. You'll answer questions such as “What trends will I seize on?” and “What do I have to offer that no one else does?”
  5. Customer analysis: Identify your customer base, whether it's made up of startups, corporations, or individuals. It's important to do plenty of research in this area and be as detailed as possible.
  6. Competitive analysis: Identify your key competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, and an approximation of their earnings. Use this part of your plan to outline your market advantage.
  7. Marketing plan: Detail your marketing efforts on how you'll reach out to vendors and customers. Outline a plan for all outlets, including traditional advertising, local press, and digital marketing.
  8. Operations plan: Give an overview of how your business will operate, and include your structural organization and planning ideas. This is also where you include logistics of materials and hosting guests, salaries, and job descriptions.
  9. Management team: List any assembled members of your team, including their titles, qualifications, and job descriptions.
  10. Financial plan: Detail how you'll raise startup costs and how you'll keep consistent revenue flowing in. Include estimates for consumer demand, competitive pricing, and regular expenses your business will have.
  11. Appendix: Any schedules, graphs, and spreadsheets detailing projected income and other data-heavy points go here. 

It takes a lot of research to create a successful event planning business, but if you're detailed and organized, you can build a company that makes people's parties, meetings, and milestone events a cause for celebration.

If you need help starting an event planning business, you can post your job on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.